tv Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 24, 2012 6:00am-7:00am EDT
safe to say without going into anything from the classified briefings, it is safe to say that commercial airlines are still a target of>> it would bee could see the threat strategy, but dealing with threats to the united states had changed with the drive reductions. i am worried we're just seeing a budget drill. i did not see the thread going down -- threat of going down. i think we should have the air alert locations. it looks to me like what they did was just hand you a bill and then had to make state local cuts to meet the targets.
do you think the air force considered the state and local impact of getting rid of our bomb squads? i know governors all over the country use it when they need a bomb squad. i have seen that in my own state of vermont. do you think they thought of that, if it impacts the state's pretty badly? >> i will try to address the other question first. that threat is still there. i think that probably the discussion was according to studies you have reference that are classified, it could the nation assume a little additional risks by cutting two of the aca units.
>> what i worry about is the discussion driven more by budgetary issues and not by reality. >> certainly, the budget comes into play. we have to talk about what we can afford to provide. are there opportunities or places where we can take additional risk? whether this additional risk is worth the money is up for debate. the bomb squads, what we did there was we looked at the situation in iraq and afghanistan, recognizing we would be coming home from those wars. we did have some budget of bogeys to meet. we tried to look at the capabilities that the united states needed that would be supplied by the international guard.
that is one of those capabilities that is a dual use. it has a function entitled 10 and also for the governors. i think the issue that has been highlighted with the council of governor's involvement under the new process is that we have inside dod, we need to do a better job of communicating with the generals and governors to get the effect of title 10 decisions on the governor's ability to respond to things like explosive ordinance disposal. >> i think that the air force has cut into the reserves far more than the army or the navy. i worried that they are not listening to some of the concerns. >> i get that from governors, both parties.
>> senator gramm does, too. i wonder if you see any analysis on relying more on the active component will save money or provide the air force with more capability? >> no, sir. i am not seeing that. >> had been asked to see that analysis? -- have you asked to see that analysis? >> ps. >> that bothers me. you are the director. you should see it before the air force presented the budget proposal that substantially cut your force base on the claims that they have and they have not shown you. >> i agree, sir. as we have gone through this process, the thing that i have come to the conclusion is that
the analysis that i have been able to see, the answer is sometimes important. the conclusion is important. as important are the initial going in assumptions and the methodologies used in the metric of what you're trying to measure. i do not think that is sufficient. you need to go back and look at the process of the methodology and assumptions. that is the thing that concerns me. how we got to some of that. >> i agree with you. i do not think these cuts in the air guard reserves is going to save us money. i think it is going to cost us a lot more. we saw how important they were to was in iraq and afghanistan. that is not a capability you can turn on and off like a switch. that is not even going into the continental u.s.
i share the concern of a lot of the governors. they were not listened to. we will talk about that more. you have always been very available to me and my staff when we have had questions. i thank you for your distinguished service as chief of the national guard bureau. i think this could be our last hearing before your retirement. you and i have been good friends. you're going to be the first chief with four stars. i know senator gramm and i and the very large a bipartisan coalition of senators take pleasure in that. he made history by changing the guard to the operational force.
i just have to say. you can say whatever you want to say. do you think the guard has been a very good position if we did not keep the pressure on the way we do? >> you do not have to ask that. >> most of us in this room prefer not to build our own gallows. in order not to do that, i will reserve some of my comments for meeting with you before i leave. thank you for steadfastly supporting the national guard through the senate guard caucus. 375 years of history have seen
the effectiveness of the national guard ed and slow. i can only say to you because you know it's so well -- ebb and flow. i can only say to you because you know it so well how capable and competent and well lead these people are. quite frankly, it the support we have had over decades from our two services. what i worried about most to get your specific question, will the title to an world find a way as it has not over the past involvement in contingencies to include world war ii by the way to maintain a balance to keep the national guard? how do we keep this magnificent capability, at this low-cost, high impact force of citizen
air men and soldiers in the game? to keep us viable. to keep the investment in our competency at a level that the nation may need to sustain as a hedge for future operations. we have to find a way to convince our services and the department that this investment has been a a wise investment. this nation deserves to have a national guard that is trained, equipped, because there will be significant challenges in the future. to you and your colleagues, i can not thank you enough for what you have done to make us who we are today. we are proud to serve the nation. thank you. >> as long as i am co-chair of the national guard pockets, you're not going to be ignored. -- caucus, you're not going to be ignored. i applaud all three of you for
your service. thank you. >> thank you. i joined the rest of my colleagues in thanking you for your leadership on so many different issues. i want to ask you about the recent air force proposal which would move the 18th squadron down to joint base. right now, this proposal looks like it'll have an impact on a 168 air refueling wing to the extent that an operation that is currently a 24 hour a day operation, at 365 days a week, that with this proposal as it may result in operations being diminished to a 12 hour day,
five days a week. certainly not the kind of hours that will be required for this pretty incredible refueling wing up there. the general keeps reminded me of the significance. we had 23 millions of gas of there. it is important to the overall mission. to my question to you is, what did this proposal that would reduce the operations there, how will this impact the guards mission there? >> i have asked that same question. when you stop and think about the importance of that refueling wing, at the strategic location, and some of the other activity that is happening over the arctic as we look westward,
you can quickly recognize the importance of the 168 in the role that it plays in the air controller missions. that is one of the first questions i asked. if the f-16s are moved and the level of support goes down, will there be sufficient capability at that air base for the international guard to continue functioning at the level it is now? a lot of the dollar bills that are controlled for some of the base support that is required for my international guard are there. it would be sufficient funds and services to keep the 168 playing the title role that it does. the decision whether to go from a 24/hour alert to something
less than that is a call that is left to the general in consultation with northcom. i cannot get into the operational decisions. my concern would be that we have in the future as capable a wink as we do right now. i watched closely in the attempt that would diminish their ability to perform a mission. i wish i had a better answer. >> if you did have to go to reduce hours operation, 12 hours, it could you do the mission that you believe you have to do and are required to do there in the arctic? >> the mission requirements are set by the war fighters. if they were to make the conclusion that a 12 hour alert to be sufficient for mission accomplishment, we can do that.
that is a judgment call that will need to be made by the commander that would take into consideration the additional risks than not having that units on alert for 12 hours a day might pose to the aca mission. >> the 168 is operating at its capacity. they have reported having to decline certain missions even within the 24/our day time frame they are operating. the 168 has asked for additional aircraft and active association. they have been doing so for several years. it can effectively do more for the mission. can you give me the status of this request? >> part of the recent basic criteria that was released to congress evolved from what we be called the board's composition analysis for the
entire refueling analysis. one of the recommendations that came out of that study was that as we go forward in the refueling enterprise, and that all of the units at some point in time transition to either active associations in the case of the 168 or classic associations, where the guard or reserve would play the supporting role. i think the future looks good for an active association. the question will be the timing and how robust that association would be. would it bring additional airplanes as part of the active association that would bring active-duty pilots -- association? would it bring active-duty pilots? those are questions to be answered.
>> no. timeline that we may expect those answers? >> no time line that i am aware of other than a push to go to active associations and classic associations across the air mobility fleet. >> let me ask you about the c- 23s. last year the army proposed the elimination of the sherpas with the belief they would replace that capabilities. they are now propose to go away. are we reconsidering the future of the c-23s? >> the army has taking the funding away. the intent is to detest those by the end of fy14. there is no reconsideration.
>> what i am told is there is a wide numbers of the generals that deal the c-23 is important to the mission. the air force is looking. are you satisfied that it can be served? is this the right thing to be doing? >> i feel that domestic airlift is a concern that should be addressed. i am not sure that it has been adequately addressed for the domestic mission. i know the army has taken the air force position that the air force will support inter- theatre airlift.
>> any ideas as to how we can address the domestic airlift? >> northcom is -- he views looking at the homelands as a viewer of operations. i think his perspective will be very important in determining requirements for all homeland defense or homeland operations. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. i thank you for your testimony this morning.
i thank you for your service to our nation. any further questions? >> i have no further questions. i do want to congratulate our panel for the leadership you are providing for our armed forces. thank you very much. >> i will be submitting some questions and ask for your response. now the committee asks general stultz, debbink, hummer, and stenner to come forward for their testimony. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
>> gentlemen, i thank you for joining us this morning. shall we start with admiral debbink? >> thank you for it a privilege to speak with you about the capabilities and readiness of our 63,988 men and women who are serving in our navy reserve today. we have performed nearly 64,000 year-long mobilizations to active duty on the front lines of freedom. it exemplifies our navy core values of courage and
commitment. as our motto proudly claim, we are ready now, anytime, anywhere. they established three tenants for the navy. fighting, operating forward, and be ready. this fully alliance with directions. our sailors are eager to do their part to ensure the navy remains the world premiere of maritime service. we provide full-time and part- time operational capabilities and strategic step for maritime missions to insure the navy is always ready to respond globally while maintaining fiscal efficiency across our whole spectrum. thanks to the work of this congress, the service secretaries have assured access to reserve component units. this will allow the navy to decide missions to the navy
reserve from peace to war. while we will first have the opportunity to budget for such use in fiscal year 2014, i want you to know how important this was to our future force while i have the opportunity. i appreciate your support for the purchase of our 14 c48 for our essential airlift. a congressional support is allowing our lived to be more cost effective and more relevant in the future. our 2013 budget request will allow to support operations while maximizing the strategic force with its readiness and accessibility. the truth price for our sailors will be the real and meaningful work as part of the global force for good.
they assumed 100 term of the navy's augment. the reserve much be asked and required to do those missions we're able to do so the active company can focus on the missions that they must do for our national security. this is my fourth and final year of appearing before your committee. i am proud of the accomplishments and am thankful for the support of this congress. on behalf of our sailors and their families and civilians, thank you for your continued support and commitment to our navy blazer. -- reserve. >> thank you. >> first of all, it is an honor to be here.
thank you for all the support you continue to give our soldiers and nation. on behalf of the 205,000 soldiers that are serving our nation, what epitomizes what the soldiers are all about is the young soldier i brought with me today. is it being very eloquent in an open statement, i wanted to introduce him to you. seated to my left is sergeant burgess and his wife. he is from ohio and belongs to the psychological unit. last year, he was in afghanistan. he was in southern afghanistan, attached to the marines. out on a mission, helping work with the local afghans to get them to show the marines
locations of ieds and other dangers, while doing that he himself stepped on an ied, lost his leg with severe wounds to the rest of his body. the first thing he said when she contacted him was "i am not getting o ut. i am staying in." he is at the warrior training brigade rehabing so he can get back in the force. that epitomizes why we are here. we are here because of them. we are here to say that we have to make sure we are doing everything within our power in an era where we are looking to save money and reduce debt. we cannot afford to shortchanging these great soldiers. they are protecting our nation. they are our first line of defense.
they are indispensable, because our army cannot do what it does without our army reserve. we are an indispensable force for them. i use him as a symbol of why i am here. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you for your service to our nation. i want to tell you we are very proud of you. please, derecognize. -- be recognized. [applause] an important partner is your wife. [applause] i will now call upon the general of the marines, a
general hummer. >> thank you very much. it is an honor and a privilege to speak with you today on behalf of your united states marine corps reserve. we welcome your leadership and your support. the subcommittee's continued unwavering support for marine corps reserve and its associated programs enables marines to professionally and competently performed in an operational capacity that is greatly appreciated. with me today, and i asked them to stand up, are my to senior advisers -- two senior advisers. they epitomized the navy and marine corps team and proudly represent our services of marines and sailors to form the backbone of marine force reserves. [applause]
the marine corps is as strong today as ever in its 236 year history. our marines have been doing what they do best since 1775, standing shoulder to shoulder to fight our nation's battles. i am pleased to report to you today that today's marine corps attend to its commitment as a total force. as such, they are integrated in all areas of the marine corps as ever before. since 2001, the required the reserve to be continuously engaged in combat operations in iraq and afghanistan as well as in regional crisis prevention activities. almost 80,000 reservists have been activated or mobilize since september 11.
this tempo has built a momentum among our war fighters with a depth of experience that is unprecedented in the generations of marine corps reservist. this operational tempo as an able the marine force reserve to evolve from a strategic reserve to an operational force capable of filling pulp roles, the strategic and the operational. in the operational role, and they have source comment preplanned, and routine combat and requirements. they continue to perform its role with focus readiness that in abels -- enables a transition.
we have almost 1500 marines and sailors deployed on five continents in support of six battened commanders including operations in afghanistan and activities by the task force in eastern africa. as they reshaped from 2001 to 182, the depth and range of the reserve will be leverage to mitigate risks and maximize opportunities were available. i am highly confident that the marine corps reserve strength is appropriate for providing us with the personnel required to support the total force during active component meltdown. this is critically important.
it is a privilege to serve during these very important and challenging times in our nation's defense, especially as a leader of our all volunteer reserve component fours. with your support, i am highly confident that your marine corps reserve will remain a response of a forest that continues to be fully vested in -- responsive force that continues to be fully vested. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much. now may i recognize general stenner. >> thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
i would like to introduce my nose commander-in-chief and have firsthand. chief sergeant master kathleen buckner. [applause] i strongly believe today's air force reserve is eight essential component of the total force because of our acceptability as a title and resource. airmen are seamlessly integrated into every service core function across the full spectrum of operations. the air force reserve is responsive to national security needs and is an affordable component of your air force. a ready force deployable within 72 hours. the reserve is able to do this because of the depth of experience. the personnel have come to us through the active force and have additional experience and
our mission capability rates reflexiveness every day. without a doubt, the reserve is positioned to retain the massive investment in human capital and maintain a cost effective heads. the reserve has experience of over 20 years of operational engagement including this. our air force reserves succeed at being operationally engaged in the strategically prepared to do to our focus on maintaining the right balance. the correct reserve guard an active force mix is adaptable to circumstances. i believe be it requires more. the president and secretary of defense are clear about the
need for reverse ability. the year reserve is leverage to make this happen. they can trust it will be there when called and equipped to the same standards. there are challenges to maintain. the air force reserve is forecasted to reduce by nine antipersonnel. that figure is just the proposed budget and is the tip of the iceberg. the personnel losses are in specialties that are still essential to the total force. at the same time, they do not easily transferred to the new area. a maintainers 17 years of experience cannot become a cyber warrior. that perspective it has the capability of losing 5000 to 6000. it does globally filled it in
smaller numbers. in addition, it there should be a more robust reserve component as a production force base on the predictability of search operations. the reserve is engaged today employs for the future with the right mix of active components. we can support irreversibility plan, it contributes to recovery, and ensure the interest. i am honored to have served the last four years of the air force reserve. i sincerely appreciate this committee's support of our air men.
i stand ready to respond to your questions. thank you. >> thank you. may i now call upon the general stultz. you were called upon to [unintelligible] can you give us transform the reserve from strategic to operational. can you give us an update of where you are at this moment? how do you think your operational reserve can be used in afghanistan? >> coming into this job six years ago, which i only planned to stay for four, that was the task. how can you transformed the reserve from a strategic putting to an operational funding and put them on a rotational basis? and do that at the same time what we're trying to fight a war on two fronts.
i can report to you today that it has been a success. of over the last time, they have mobilized 200,000 of our soldiers and put them in to support missions in iraq, afghanistan, and here at home. we have kept the active duty between 20,000 and 30,000 soldiers every day since that inception. they are doing critical missions. i would say our force is indispensable. we are the enablers for the army. we are the engineers, the medical structure, military policemen, all those capabilities that the army over time has shifted more and more into the reserve components. as an example, it today if you
look at the transportation capability, critical capability as we try to reduce our footprint in afghanistan, that transportation ability to get soldiers and equipment out of there is critical. 85% of that capability rests in the guard and reserves. 70% of the medical capability rest in the guard and reserve appeared 85% of civil affairs and psychological affairs rest in the reserve. the army cannot do what they do without us. that transformation has been hugely successful. i will tell you why. it is not the leaders of. -- leadership i have given. it is the dedication our soldiers have given. soldiers after in the reserve today either have joined or reenlisted while the nation is at war.
they know what they have signed up for. this culture says i am joining to do something to serve my country. i am not doing this to be a weekend warrior. the challenge we guy is how do we keep them? it is critical that we have the right training, and the right equiping comment to make sure we retain that force and keep them ready. we're not that predicting the future. we do not know where the next conflict will be. the army is like to have to call upon us on short notice to get there and get into the operations to sustained combat operations. that is why things like the ngra is so critical. it is the fed's ability to buy equipment i need now that is the program -- gives me the flexibility to buy equipment that i need now that is in the program.
the money we're transferring to provide extra training days for the soldiers in their fourth year and fifth year is critical. the army reserve is an operational force. it is highly successful. it is successful because of soldiers. >> we have been advised that yet had equipment shortfalls. how is that impacting your mission? >> what i can tell you is if you look at the figures of the equipment on hand, we are better than we ever have been. we are 66% modernized. the equipment we have as was discussed earlier is old equipment. it is substituted items.
as far as our soldiers being able to do their job, not an issue. we make sure they are prepared using modernized equipment. we give them the best training, and the best equiping before we put them in harm's way. it impacts me back home because now that we have drawn out of iraq and we will start drawing down of afghanistan, i am focusing on home station training. how do i keep them trained at home so they're ready to go when i needed them? i need that equipment back here. it is a morale factor. if you are a young soldier equipped to the best standards and you come home and to go to your weekend drill and there is a piece of old equipment that you know we do not use any more in a wartime environment, it does have an impact on his shoulder saying why are we training with what we just had in afghanistan?
the modernization is critical for our retention and for our readiness. to be ready, i have to train on the right equipment. >> are you satisfied with the modernization program as we have now, and that it is adequate? but i have some concerns. my concern would be that as the army is going for restructure and as they are drawing down their strain over years, i think that will lead us to make some decisions for the future that might say we can delays the modernization and so we decide what the structure looks like. i cannot afford to wait. my soldiers need equipment today. it is probably the smart thing
to do in some cases. if we're going to draw that units that have modern equipment, it would cascade to me. i would have that modern equipment. they say we will give you what we have when we do away with those units. however, that is going to be several years down the road. i cannot afford to wait. that is why the funding they you give us a so critical. if the army says we're not going to buy any more modernized trucks because we're going to take some of the active trucks and give them to you in 2016, i can buy some today and put them in my units and when the other ones come it will fill the rest of the units. i am not satisfied that our modernization strategy will meet my needs for the immediate future. no, sir. >> of i to ask a question of all of you. -- i would like to ask a question of all of you. the strategic plans call for
drastic reductions which gives you an opportunity to get active duty people transition to the reserves. do you have any plans? >> we certainly do in the navy. in our primary office that we set up a few years ago, we set up a career transition office that is handling all of these transitions. we are proud of the work they have done to reduce the time it takes to make the transition. it used to be four or six months, down to it two or three days by making the process smoother. we do look forward to the active component that has been so full start to transition. we will have an opportunity to bring these sailors into the reserve components. we want to make it as smooth as possible.
most has been our policies within the department. there have been several things that you have been very helpful with in making that happen. did the most important thing we need to do is to have real and meaningful work for those soldiers to do when they get to the reserve components. that is why access and other provisions of the very important to us moving forward. >> what about the marines? >> thank you. since he has taken over, general amos has revamped the assistance program. he has various aspects. ucb it would bring the marines together for a couple of days -- used to be it would bring the marines together for a few days and then they're out the door.
now there are times in their transition, a year before they get out, right before they get out, and all this information is put on the web so they can get access to it. for the legendary marina was to get out and served for six months before he wants to get a job for -- marine who wants to get out and surf for six months before he gets a job or goes to school. if they're going to go to school or trade school, a business track if they want to get into business or if they want to start a business. there is an entrepreneurial track. we have room for them in our 396. we see the reserve increasing. an estimate would be up to 75,000. those are marines we also pay
attention to and take care of as much as we can even though they are not drilling reservists. we are tightly integrated with the active component and that continuant and marine for life program that brings them in, it trains them, and gives them the opportunity to join the reserves if they want to continue to be valuable citizens throughout their life. thank you. >> what about the air force? >> we have a robust program and work closely with our active component over the last couple years. they of worked aggressively to downsize. the critical skills are the ones we are focusing on. we have in service reporters who
interviewed every person leading the active force and offer them the opportunity to continue to serve in those particular of areas where we have a need. they try to match critical skills rather needs are. we also offer cross training to the folks who might be interested in continuing to participate in a different career field. there's volunteer early retirement and some other kinds of options to depart the active force, which does put some folks the irr. we're also working on musters inside those members once a year at several locations, vermont targeting the skills we need if and mustering votes in. we found that within the first year after somebody leaves, they may not be just as satisfies d as they thought they would be and we have found a lucrative recording ground from them. we are working aggressively with
are active and guard partners to keep the critical skills. we cannot afford to retrain. we must keep that capacity capability. >> were you satisfied with the program? >general >> . yes, sir. it is a critical part of our strategy for the future, our human capital strategy. have learned from my good friends in the marine corps that the marines for life mentality needs to be in the army also. a soldier for life mentality. we are -- i am putting manpower on the active duty installations to start working more aggressively with the transition process, much further out than we have in the past. the soldier that decides he's going to lead the army from an active status, we are transitioning him into reserve status of you'll still be a
soldier. we need to start talking to him six months to nine months before he leaves, not two weeks. we need to talk about what is going to do for civilian work. we need to help him get a job. one of the cornerstones of our program is arm boyer support program that we developed over the last of four years where we have 3000 employees across america and a partner with us. we have 700,000 jobs on the web portal that are available out there with those of lawyers and we have programs support managers on the ground, contractors that we have hired to help facilitate between the employer and the soldier. we want to facilitate that before he ever leaves active service. we want to have a smooth transition where he can come off active duty, go right into a civilian job if that's what he chooses to do and we can also facilitate him coming into the reserve, whether it comes in and active reserve status or just wants to take a break for a
while and be in the irr. when you are ready to come back to start dealing with us, we will bring you back. the employer peace is critical, because if i bring a soldier into the reserve and the does not have a job, i am at risk, because he has to pay his mortgage and before the kids to go to college. he needs to be employed and need a profitable career. we are putting forces out there with employers and we are going to make that as a cornerstone of our program. i can tell you that it's working. the past couple years we have already put at least 1000 soldiers that we know into civilian jobs in our forest. there are many thousands of others that we now have already used the web portal and gotten jobs. employ years are telling us and we did not know the soldiers used the technology themselves to do it. the program is working, soldiers are happy, employers are happy.
we have a good forced. >> thank you very much. i will submit a few other questions for your consideration. expect that. >> mr. chairman, thank you. general, i have given to your staff some questions about reassigning aircraft that are now based at the beale air force base in biloxi. keesler air force base. i hope you can look depots and address our response to the committee as soon as reasonably possible. what we are concerned about is the readiness of an operational reserve anxd how that may be affected by the air force's restructure decisions. any comments you can make as a way of introduction to what your thoughts are on that subject?
>> senator portman , i can do that. let me just refer to the previous panel's remarks, of especially those of the general as he was discussing some of the same issues as we look at downsizing some of the fleets that we have as a result of age or as a result of requirement. -- senator corcoran. the tricky part is how to be looking at this across the systems. and ensure that we meet the requirements of a combatant commanders, which if we do that will allow us to reduce the numbers that we currently have. we did have a very rigorous process that we went through and there are four very major tenants of kinds of things we looked at to include no negative impact of a combatant commanders commissure movements don't create any new bills, and increase mission capable rates when we do this. and we need to look at all locations we have out there,
apply the criteria, and in some cases there is a judge minutes to go into it at the end. we will certainly come back to you quickly with the questions you have asked, use that as a prude, and we will work that through our corporate structure. as the general mentioned in his testimony, to come to the realization that we have in the fiscal year 2013 projection, but those are the kind of things that need to be done to ensure that we don't become hollow in other parts of the force as well. we will get this back to you soon. >> i look forward to going down to the mississippi gulf coast for the christening of the u.s.s. mississippi, the newest submarine that will be joining the fleet. that will be an exciting vacation for all of our state. i identify very closely with the
navy's presence and the shipbuilding capability along the gulf coast. personally, serving in the navy, i am a little biased about the importance of the u.s. navy. what is the prospect for this budget. we approved the schedule for ship construction, maintenance, adding new ships to the fleet. is it robust enough to take care of responsibilities for national defense that falls under the jurisdiction exclusively of the navy? >> yes, sir. i would like to refer that question, if i could, primarily because in the navy reserve, which is my responsibility, we do have a navy reserve fully it., nine it as we are retiring those, we are bringing active forgets into the reserve fleet to replace them -- active frigates.
once those are retired, it will be with a combat ship program that is ramping up and we are in active discussions with the navy as to where we will play into that. the entire shipbuilding program, the larger question i would like to defer to the secretary. i will say, from my perspective, having been in the navy 35 years, that are fully today in mississippi -- and mississippi is a great example of it, is far more capable than at any time in the past. i would rather use the fleet that we have today and looking into the near future than any fleet we have had in the past. for capability as well as for the training and dedication and courage and commitment of the sailors serving on that fleet today. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. mr. chairman, thank you for
convening the hearing. let me say to all the panel, we appreciate your dedication and your commitment to helping strengthen and maintain the best reserve components of our military establishment. thank you very much. >> i would like to join my vice chairman in banking all of you for your testimony and for the service to our country. and to note that, as general stokes pointed out, the critical role that you played and continue to play in the middle east. most people in the united states don't realize this. they think it is just an active component. but the role that reserve plays is very important. this committee appreciate that very much. this subcommittee will reconvene on wednesday, june 6 at 10:00 a.m. to receive testimony from outside witnesses.
>> the senate banking committee is looking into home mortgage refinancing. witnesses include the heads of the national association of realtors and quicken loans. at 10:00 eastern, the ethics and public policy center hosts a discussion on a religious freedom and includes the unveiling of a plan for religious freedom caucuses in the 50 state legislatures. the keynote speaker is archbishop william lori of baltimore. speech is at 7:15 p.m. eastern. speech is at 7:15 p.m. eastern.